Bono Celebrates Life of Nelson Mandela in Time Magazine Piece
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 12.05.2013
“He could charm the birds off the trees.”
Time Magazine published an article by U2 frontman and activist Bono paying tribute to the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, who passed away today at the age of 95. Below are some highlights from the piece.
Bono on how the Irish people related to South Africa: "Irish people related all too easily to the subjugation of ethnic majorities. From our point of view, the question as to how bloody South Africa would have to get on its long road to freedom was not abstract."
Bono on how Mandela helped Africa: "It certainly fell to Mandela to be great…Without Mandela, would Africa be experiencing its best decade of growth and poverty reduction? His indispensability can't be proved with math and metrics, but I know what I believe…"
Bono telling a story about Mandela accepting money and fellowship from former enemies: "He could charm the birds off the trees—and cash right out of wallets. He told me once how Margaret Thatcher had personally donated £20,000 to his foundation. ‘How did you do that?' I gasped. The Iron Lady, who was famously frugal, kept a tight grip on her purse. "I asked," he said with a laugh. ‘You'll never get what you want if you don't ask.' Then he lowered his voice conspiratorially and said her donation had nauseated some of his cohorts. ‘Didn't she try to squash our movement?' they complained. His response: ‘Didn't De Klerk crush our people like flies? And I'm having tea with him next week … He'll be getting the bill.' (On other occasions, I heard Mandela praise the courage of F.W. de Klerk, the last President of apartheid South Africa, who had his own prison to escape: the prejudice of his upbringing. We should not forget his role in this historic drama).'